Government’s Plan to Tackle Housing Affordability
8 January 2016 at 3:03 pm
The Turnbull government’s announcement that it will set up a working group to investigate innovative ways to improve the availability of affordable housing has been welcomed by welfare groups.
Social Services Minister, Christian Porter, said the group would look at improving the supply, quality and management of social and affordable housing across Australia.
“The supply of affordable housing is at the centre of a great range of social service challenges,” Porter said.
“No single level of government can act alone on this issue – it must be collaborative and there must be innovative solutions offered.”
St Vincent de Paul Society CEO, John Falzon, said it was good to see the government engaging on the “vital” issue of social and affordable housing.
“The St Vincent de Paul Society has been calling for an increase in the stock of social and affordable housing to address the significant waiting lists that exist across Australia,” Falzon said.
“We would like to see a broader working group to include community organisations such as the St Vincent de Paul Society who work on the ground helping the people who are affected by the systemic lack of social and affordable housing.
“The Society believes this is an excellent opportunity to focus on housing and homelessness as a key issue for the 2016 election.
“Each party must have a policy to address the homelessness and affordable housing crisis that many Australians deal with on a day-to-day basis.”
Assistant Minister to the Treasurer, Alex Hawke, said the working group would seek proposals for housing solutions before working with states to implement some of the suggestions offered.
“We want solutions that will benefit Australians now and into the future,” Hawke said.
“We will be encouraging proposals of social and affordable models that are ready to be implemented, as well as the presentation of new ideas.
“The government will be working collaboratively with states and territories and seeking input from the community – including through a formal public consultation process.”
The working group will comprise members of the Treasury and Department of Social Services as well as members from the NSW, Victorian and West Australian governments.
The Terms of Reference for the working group and an Issues Paper will be released before the end of January, along with a call for proposals from interested parties.
The establishment of the working group follows a request from Treasurers at the Council on Federal Financial Relations meeting in October last year.
According to the latest figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), there was an estimated shortage of 539,000 rental properties that were both affordable and available for renters with income in the bottom two income groups.
The latest census figures showed that 105,200 people, or one in every 204 people, were homeless at the one time.